Vol. 10: Rooftop Signs in Barcelona

Amidst the bustle of the Olympics, the city of Barcelona has a mysterious attraction. This was the city which gave birth to the architect of genius Gaudi and the artists Picasso and Miro, whose works are scattered randomly through the city as part of their respective legacies. The vast riches accumulated through overseas development following in the wake of the discovery of the New World by Columbus are evident in the facades of the splendid buildings and the high-class residential blocks. But the mood pervading the city and the expressions on the faces of its citizens demonstrate the unbounded vivacity characteristic of southern climes, along with the total naturalness that distinguishes Catalonia.

The outdoor advertising within the city is full of a sense of vigor without parallel in any other European city. One is struck especially by the many large rooftop signs. The combination of building in stone with neon signs proves unexpectedly compatible, and of particular interest are the buildings with photographs and the use of lettering in the advertisements. In respect to the deeply contoured facades, the enormous but exquisitely formed simple letters gUAPh in no way detract from the style and sophistication of the buildings themselves.

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